Human Review: Layered And Well Researched Narrative That Keeps You Glued To Your Seat

Human Review: While Bollywood, whether on the big screen or on-demand, has a history of producing thrilling thrillers on a variety of subjects, one avenue that has remained unexplored is the medical-themed thriller. With the exception of the sensational Ankur Arora Murder Case from 2013, nothing, or at least nothing noteworthy, comes to memory. In such an environment, Disney+ Hotstar has released Human, a new web series starring Shefali Shah and Kirti Kulhari, two of our country’s most underappreciated actors. So, does it succeed in bringing life and interest to medical thrillers?

Dr. Saira Sabarwal (Kirti Kulhari) is hired at Dr. Gauri Nath’s cutting-edge hospital in Bhopal, where she is acclaimed as a savior and, along with her husband (Ram Kapoor), wields enormous power over the city’s length and breadth in all of its vital locations. Simultaneously, human trials for a potentially dangerous new medicine are being undertaken in less than ethical methods, drawing Saira farther and deeper into the unfolding medical malice.

Human hits are heard where it matters most by tapping into the doubts many have over COVID-19 vaccination and how safe they are. It does so though with sensitivity sans any sensitisation, keeping us glued to our seats with a layered, well-researched narrative of an uncharted underbelly of medical science, steering well clear of gimmicks, shortcuts, or shock value to make its point. Yes, Human is shocking, but it shocks you with a detailed plot and mysterious characters rather than sudden detours, and frankly speaking, such shocks leave a far more indelible impact. It’s also telling how subplots like feminism, class divide, and the Bhopal gas tragedy are inculcated in the script and help influence the story.

Of course, not half of this would’ve been achieved if Mozez Singh and Vipul Amrutlal Shah didn’t have the actors to back them up, with Shefali Shah delivering a performance for the ages, delving deep into the cerebral complexity of her part, emerging with a tour de force that has us pondering long after. Shefali is versatile in a bottle; compare her acts in Dil Dhadakne Do, Delhi Crime, and this, and you’ll feel like you’re watching three different performers with the same countenance. Kirti Kulhari is a perfect foil to her and never ceases to amaze us with how she keeps reinventing herself like a breath of fresh air yet never goes overboard.

It also says that these two are enveloped by a top-notch supporting cast, including Vishal Jethwa, Seema Biswas, Ram Kapoor, Aditya Shrivastava, plus a veteran like Mohan Agashe. It further pays when the technicalities of an OTT project are also as polished as they’re in Human, with the production design, colour schemes, cinematography, and background score all being top-drawer stuff.

Without revealing much, there’s a plot device that deals with pain inhibition in an individual’s cerebral cortex that may pass off for those who haven’t seen or read much about it earlier but will stick out like a sore thumb with its presentations to those who know a thing or two about it. Besides that, Human, too, falls in the trap of what’s plaguing most Indian web series these days – being stretched for too long as the show could’ve easily been trimmed to half an hour per episode or eight episodes instead of ten at the original length per episode. Also, while the feminist themes are strong and pertinent, they do make the folly of skirting misandry at times.

Shefali Shah is first-rate in a highly complex and tough role, Kirti Kulhari never ceases to surprise and is a perfect foil to her, they’re surrounded by a supporting cast to die for, and even if the performances weren’t that good, Disney Hotstar’s new web series, Human, would still make for a brilliant, binge-worthy watch as a top-notch medical thriller. I’m going with 4 out of 5 stars.